Monday, August 9, 2010

Grilled Veggie Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

So, out of all the (part-time) vegetarians in the world, I probably like vegetables the least of them all. If it's not broccoli or zucchini, I probably won't eat it. Ok, in all honesty I'm better than I used to be but they're still not my favorite. Not to mention the fact that most vegetarian recipes never seem hearty enough for me. Lo and behold, this recipe. It was SO satisfying, so full of flavor, I just could NOT get enough. That's right, I went back for seconds. And it's just veggies!! And an amazing dressing. If you're not a huge fan of blue cheese (unlike me who eats it by the handful) don't shy away from this dressing. It's by no means overpowering, just a flavorful and tangy vinaigrette. I'm so amazed at how good this was!! Looking forward to leftovers for lunch :)

I didn't have fennel and also left out beets due to preference. Used fresh spinach instead of mixed greens and broiled veggies instead of grilling cause it was 110 degrees outside :)
**Also, I grilled the potatoes separately and my kids ate those with ketchup cause they're not so into veggies. Weird, right??

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
9 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (such as Maytag; about 2 ounces)
2 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise
2 bell peppers (preferably in assorted colors), seeded, quartered lengthwise
1 pound red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cut through core into 8 wedges
8 fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed
10 baby beets (about 11/2 inches in diameter), trimmed, scrubbed, halved crosswise
1 large red onion, cut into 1/3-inch-thick slices
1 5-ounce package mixed baby greens

Whisk vinegar, Dijon mustard, and 5 tablespoons oil in small bowl. Stir in cheese. Season dressing with salt and generous amount of pepper.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat); brush grill with oil. Place all vegetables except beets, onion, and baby greens in large bowl; drizzle with remaining 4 tablespoons oil and toss to coat. Transfer to large rimmed baking sheet. Place beets in same bowl; toss to coat with any remaining oil in bowl and transfer to baking sheet. Sprinkle vegetables with salt and pepper. Brush onion slices with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill vegetables until slightly charred and tender, about 12 minutes for beets, potatoes, and fennel, turning occasionally, and about 4 minutes per side for zucchini, peppers, onion slices, and mushrooms.

Mound greens in center of 4 plates. Arrange onions and vegetables atop greens. Drizzle dressing over and serve.

Everybody Like Parfait!

Let me first apologize for my's been a busy summer and I have made a whole lot of boring, predictable meals (when I wasn't on vacation eating total garbage, that is!). So, to make up for it, here's a recipe for the most outstanding summer dessert I've had in...forever. It's tangy, creamy, many wonderful things in every bite. And, for you gingersnap/lemon virgins out there, I must say that it may be the best combo since dark chocolate and cream. Ok, well, nothing's THAT good!
**I used purchased lemon curd (Trader Joe's) and substituted OJ for the limoncello. I mashed the berries a bit more rather than letting them sit for hours and also didn't chill everything after assembly, just ate right away. I didn't like the idea of the cookies getting soggy...I like crunch. Divine!
Courtesy Bon Appetit

Lemon curd:
• 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel
• 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
• Pinch of salt
• 2 large eggs
• 3 large egg yolks

Blackberry compote:
• 2 cups fresh blackberries (about 12 ounces)
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• 2 tablespoons limoncello
• 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel

• 4 ounces gingersnap cookies (about 16)
• 1 1/2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
• 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
• Pinch of salt

• Even easier: High-quality purchased lemon curd can be used in place of homemade.

For lemon curd:
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; whisk in sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, cream, and pinch of salt. Add eggs and egg yolks; whisk to blend. Cook over medium-low heat until thick enough for mixture to leave path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, stirring constantly, 6 to 7 minutes (do not boil). Strain into medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly atop lemon curd. Chill at least 8 hours or overnight.

For blackberry compote:
Toss all ingredients in medium bowl to coat, lightly crushing some of berries to release juices. Cover and chill until sugar dissolves and juices form, about 3 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

For assembly:
Place cookies in large resealable plastic bag. Crush cookies with mallet or rolling pin until largest pieces are about 1/2 inch. Using electric mixer, beat cream, mascarpone, and pinch of salt in large bowl just until peaks form. Arrange six 8-ounce parfait glasses or compote cups on work surface. Spoon 4 to 5 berries and some of juices in bowl into each cup. Cover and chill remaining berries in bowl for serving. Spoon 1/4 cup mascarpone whipped cream over berries in each cup, spreading in even layer. Add generous 1 tablespoon curd, spreading to edges. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon crushed gingersnaps over. Repeat layering 1 more time with mascarpone whipped cream, lemon curd, and crushed gingersnaps. Top with remaining cream. Cover; chill desserts at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours.
Uncover desserts. Spoon remaining berry mixture over and serve.

Prepare to eat repeatedly throughout the day :)